COVID-19: New de-confinement phase in Portugal introduces changes on work organization
Labor Alert Portugal
It was published on the official gazette the Ministers Council Order no. 40-A/2020, of 29 May, extending the Calamity State under the COVID-19 pandemic and rules the new de-confinement phase in Portugal. Among other measures, it should be highlighted the amendments introduced on telework and work organization in the companies, in force from June 1st, 2020, onwards.
It is reestablished the general rule (set forth on Portuguese Labor Code) that telework is contingent on the mutual agreement of both parties (employer and employee). Nonetheless, a fez exceptions to this general rule are introduced, making it possible for employees and employers to impose telework.
When requested by the employee, and provided that the tasks rendered by him allow it, telework is mandatory on the following cases:
Disabled employees or employees with an incapacity equal or superior to 60%.
Employees with children or any other dependent under 12 years old or, regardless of the age, with a disabled or chronical diseased, as a result of the suspension of the school activities, kindergarten activities and activities to support disabled persons, only during the period outside school interruptions (determined on attachments II and IV of Order no. 5754-A/2019). Only one of the parents can request to work via telework, regardless of the number of children or dependents at care.
Telework is also mandatory, provided that the employee’s tasks allow it, when the company’s premises or the work organization do not make possible for the company to comply with Health Authorities (“Direção-Geral de Saúde”) and Labor Authorities (“Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho”) recommendations on working conditions. In this case, the telework is mandatory (regardless of the existence of an agreement between employer and employee), for the strict necessity to comply with the abovementioned recommendations from the public authorities. Companies should use objective, measurable and non-discriminatory criteria to determine who are the employees that should work on the company’s premises and who are the employees that should be kept on telework.
2. Other changes on work organization
When is not established under the terms established in Portuguese Labour Code, other measures can be introduced in the company to avoid risks related to the pandemic, within the maximum limits on working times and complying with the daily and weekly rests set forth in law or in the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements, namely:
Introduction of rotated scales, daily or weekly, between employees on telework and working on their usual workplace.
Work schedules establishing different times between employees to begin and end work;
Different times between employees for daily breaks during work.
The introduction of these measures shall comply with the proceedings set forth on the Portuguese Labor Code.